Image of Tenen Holtz

Tenen Holtz

Elihu "Elye" Tenenholtz was born in the Russian hamlet of Azran, near the city of Rovne, in 1887 and came to the US at the age of ten. His first appearance in amateur Yiddish theatricals occurred in 1903, in staged readings of the works of Yiddish author Sholom Aleichem, the first person to do that. He augmented his theater appearances by writing for and editing a Yiddish satirical magazine under the pen-name "Moishe McCarthy". In 1916 he made the leap to the professional Yiddish stage and, befriended by the great doyenne Bessie Thomashevsky, helped her pen her memoirs, the first publication documenting a Yiddish actor's life. By 1920 he was appearing on both the Yiddish art stage with Maurice Schwartz and on Broadway, quickly rising to the top leadership of the Hebrew Actors' Union, the first arts union in America. In 1925 he co-founded a theater company with Celia Adler, half-sister of Luther Adler and "Method" teacher Stella Adler. In 1926 he was summoned to Hollywood and given a five-year contract at MGM. Like most Jewish actors, when he arrived in Hollywood he changed his name (choosing to bifurcate it into "Tenen Holtz"). During that time he regularly appeared in films alongside such stars as Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Marion Davies and under directors like King Vidor and Victor Fleming. This period would prove to be Tenenholtz's most prolific and would account for the majority of the 50+ films in which he would appear. While in Hollywood he helped jump start its fledgling Yiddish theater, founding a popular Yiddish theater company that included other transplanted Yiddish actors including Muni Weisenfreund (aka Paul Muni, father and son Rudolph Schildkraut and Joseph Schildkraut. When his contract at MGM ended, he moved over to Warner Brothers where he made films with Leslie Howard under the direction of Michael Curtiz. By the late 1930s the only calls he got were from Poverty Row studios, so Tenenholtz moved to nearby Monrovia and opened a chicken ranch. Though he would occasionally go back in front of the camera, he retired from film. By the time TV emerged, he landed a few roles on shows such as Perry Mason (1957) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). He died in 1971.


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Born:
Feb 17, 1887 In Volin - Russia
Movie/TV Credits:
36
First Appeared:
In the movie Upstage 1926-11-06
Latest Project:
Series Peter Gunn 1958-09-22
Known For
Poster of Henry Goes Arizona
Poster of All Teed Up
Poster of Show People
Poster of Bringing Up Father
Filmography

Peter Gunn (1958)

Crime
Series
as Unknown
8.7 3 votes

Perry Mason (1957)

Mystery Drama Crime Family
Series
as Unknown
7.8 21 votes

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)

Mystery Drama
Series
as Unknown
7.7 42 votes

Let Freedom Ring (1939)

Drama Music Romance
Movie
as Hunky
6 1 votes

Bridal Suite (1939)

Romance Comedy Music
Movie
as Hotel Runner at Train Station
5.5 1 votes

Henry Goes Arizona (1939)

Drama Western Comedy
Movie
as Boris - a Ranch Hand

Mutiny on the Blackhawk (1939)

Adventure
Movie

International Crime (1938)

Mystery Crime
Movie
as Starkhov
5.5 1 votes

Cipher Bureau (1938)

Drama
Movie
as Simon Herrick

Nothing Sacred (1937)

Comedy Drama Romance
Movie
as Tearful Waiter (uncredited)
6.8 12 votes

Hollywood Hoodlum (1934)

Movie
as Benjamin Vogel

Money Means Nothing (1934)

Drama
Movie
as Mr. Silverman

British Agent (1934)

Romance Drama History War
Movie
as Lenin
4.3 3 votes

Whistling In The Dark (1933)

Movie
as Herman

Hard to Handle (1933)

Comedy Romance
Movie
as Tailor
4.7 3 votes

Broadway to Hollywood (1933)

Music Drama
Movie
as Booking Agent
7 1 votes

The Chief (1933)

Comedy
Movie
as Bald Henchman at Cabin

Cock of the Air (1932)

Movie
as Tall Waiter

Faithless (1932)

Drama
Movie
as Diner Proprietor (uncredited)

Gentleman's Fate (1931)

Drama
Movie
as Tony

Laughing Sinners (1931)

Drama Romance
Movie
as Poker-Playing Salesman
3 2 votes

Sporting Blood (1931)

Drama Romance
Movie
as Gus, Bald Gambling Mobster (uncredited)

Devotion (1931)

Comedy Drama Romance
Movie
as Waiter
7 1 votes

The Kibitzer (1930)

Movie
as Meyer

All Teed Up (1930)

Movie
as Senator Brown

The Duke Steps Out (1929)

Drama Comedy
Movie
as Jake, Duke's manager

The Garden of Eden (1928)

Drama
Movie
as Headwaiter at Palais de Paris (uncredited)

Bringing Up Father (1928)

Movie
as Ginsberg Feitelbaum

The Law of the Range (1928)

Western
Movie
as Cohen

The Trail of '98 (1928)

Adventure Action
Movie
as Mr. Bulkey
5 1 votes

The Ol' Gray Hoss (1928)

Movie
as Man with Sooty on Face

Detectives (1928)

Mystery Comedy
Movie
as Orloff

Show People (1928)

Romance Comedy
Movie
as Casting Director
6.3 7 votes

The Cardboard Lover (1928)

Comedy Romance
Movie
as Albine
0.5 2 votes

Upstage (1926)

Drama
Movie
as Sam Davis

Exit Smiling (1926)

Comedy Romance
Movie
as Tod Powell
8.5 2 votes